This one thing doubled my productivity

The underrated power of single-tasking

Charlie E Hyde

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focus
Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

Multitasking is a myth. There, I’ve said it.

I was brought up to believe that multi-tasking was an ‘essential’ skill and that if you weren’t doing multiple things at once you were somehow a productivity failure. How wrong they were.

Multitasking is a myth because it isn’t possible to literally do multiple things at the same time.

When we talk about multitasking, we’re actually referring to a series of rapid context switches.

This is where your brain flits from one thing to the next and has to readjust. This is a real productivity sap. There are various studies that have tried to quantify exactly how much productivity is lost due to context switching. Some come out at 30% and some even more.

Either way, I think we can agree that multitasking isn’t an efficient way to work. Lots of stuff started, nothing finished.

What’s the solution?

This is where the art of single-tasking and hyperfocus comes in.

This blog is inspired by what I learnt from Chris Bailey’s book, ‘Hyperfocus’ and my experience implementing it. This blog isn’t intended as a substitute for reading the book. Au contraire, it’s one of the best productivity books I’ve ever read — you should definitely read it.

The concept is simple:

Pick a task, block the time you think you need to complete it to reasonable quality, then hyperfocus to achieve it.

It’s insulting simple.

Why should you care?

Why do we need a blog when it’s so obvious?

In our ever-connected, always on, always notified culture, actually achieving hyperfocused single-tasking is very hard.

It can feel like the world is conspiring against our productivity.

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Charlie E Hyde

Life hacks from Burnout recovery. Self-improvement and productivity nerd. Beating toxic productivity one post at a time